Friday, January 27, 2006

The State of the 'State of the Union' Address

Let’s review something… “President” Bush has delivered four State of the Union addresses, or SOTU, with the 5th one on the (bleak) horizon, and with each one he and his “Administration” have promised big things.

The State of the Union is a ritual that is broadcast live on television and radio to millions of people, not just in the U.S. but also around the world. And it is a stellar (and guaranteed annual) opportunity for a president to hawk his wares directly to the American people (and other lawmakers) and trumpet their administration.

And while the results of Bush’s SOTU’s have been lacking (we’ll get to those shortly) he has been fortunate that all four of his SOTU’s have been molded to fit the moment. Consider these:

  1. Bush delivered his first SOTU in January 2002. Mere months following 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  2. SOTU number 2 came a few months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
  3. SOTU number 3 was embroiled with his re-election themes of terrorism, Iraq, terrorism, Medicare, terrorism, staying-the-course. You get the idea.
  4. SOTU number 4 (last year's) was the first once since the 9/11 attacks that was focused on domestic issues rather than terrorism, Iraq, terrorism, Iraq, terrorism, staying-the-course, etc.

This brings us to this years SOTU. A SOTU that will see Dubya delivering the speech amid quickly falling (and tepid) job approval ratings, looming midterm elections, anxieties over continuing U.S. troop deaths in Iraq, cynicism about how legal his eavesdropping program to foil terrorists is and a lobbying scandal that is a threat to many Republican members (his own party btw) on Capitol Hill.

Now let’s take a quick travel back in time (just allow Mr. Peabody and Sherman time to set the WABAC controls to teleport all of us back to 2002… ) to get a quick glance at some of his more spectacular SOTU misses.

Among the swings and misses:

  • His plans to overhaul Social Security. This was a key cog in last year's speech. The plan had a lot of fervor out of the gate, but has since failed to gain any traction and has since fallen by the wayside. Not even his 3- or 4-month tour (which I like to call ‘Bingo George and his Traveling Elixir Sideshow and Musical Caravan”) to rally support could put the American people at ease over his plan. (Ya know, sometimes the collective intelligence of the country surprises you and they make an intelligent choice. It’s just too bad they didn’t make an intelligent choice in 2000 or 2004 and we could have avoided all this mess)
  • Another strike from last year was Bush putting forth his definition of an “ownership society,” a concept that pushed for the embracing of his drive to privatize Social Security and create personal health savings accounts. How’s that working out for all of you? Hello? Can everyone in Louisiana and Mississippi hear me?
  • Another strike: the president's admonishment of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s). Remember those? One of the primary reasons given to the American people and the world for invading Iraq. Now that we found them… what’s that?? Wha-, nothing was found? They had to have found one missl- None? Maybe a little bom-, nothing?? At least some chemicals… no? Oh… well, never mind…
  • Remember his statement about Britain having learned that Saddam Hussein had sought “significant quantities” of uranium from Africa. That one was true—, what, you’re kidding me, that one too? Oh… well, never mind...

Granted, besides quite a few swings and misses, Bush has had some announcements from previous SOTU address that, in a sense, were successful… but soon imploded, such as:

  • Tax cuts that he boasts have primed the economy. Uh… sure… whatever you say Herr Bush. Never mind that a US Commerce Department report that was released today (Friday, January 27th) shows the U.S. economy ending 2005 on a soft note due to consumer spending growing at the slowest rate since 2001. Add to that the businesses were less eager to boost investments in 2005 as well and you have an economy that doesn’t seem to ‘primed.’
  • Four words: “No Child Left Behind.” That was Bush’s “education initiative” that was enacted in 2002. How did it fail? Well, it would take too long to list all the reasons here, so instead I’ll just point you to a well-written article (HERE) about its failings and be done with it.
  • It will be very difficult for Shrub… sorry, I meant Bush, to equal the success of his first address in 2002 that was propped up by national unity following 9/11 as he received rousing applause from both Democrats and Republicans and enjoyed job approval ratings that exceeded 80 percent (presently they are hovering around 43%).
  • Bush also pledged that year to put all terrorists out of business and famously spoke of the so-called “axis of evil” (not to be confused with the asses of evil) nations; North Korea, Iran and Iraq.

While the “axis of evil” phrase has taken root into the American lexicon, keep in mind that

  • no WMD’s were found in Iraq
  • any and all diplomatic efforts to suppress North Korea's nuclear ambitions have, thus-far, failed
  • U.S. (and European) diplomats have not been able to persuade Iran to stop enriching uranium, which should be pointed out is a step in making nuclear weapons.

Bush also stated in his first speech that the federal budget would run a deficit for the first time in four years (which, non-coincidentally, was during the Clinton administration). Dubya said it would be short term if Congress had to hold down spending… that’s not how things have worked out. The deficit in 2002 was $159 billion, and that has climbed up to $337 billion for the current budget year. At this rate it will exceed $400 billion by the end of 2006.

What’s the point of this post?

To get across that Bush is, and will forever be, a tool; a simple, unknowing, intelligent-lacking, empty-headed tool.

Not just a tool for the Conservative Right mind you, but also a tool for all the empty-headed, can’t-think-for-themselves, Ann-Coulter-loving, empty shirts.

Of course, that's just my opinion...


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a typical president to me.

Anonymous said...

A typical loser, yes. If the repugs would start putting intelligent candidates into the presidential ring
we might actaully see some form of a reason to consider them as a serious contender, but Nooooo, they'd rather have name and face recognition over substance and intelligence. One nice thing about watching the bushwacker on
TV is that he makes me feel superior and glad I went to class and studied in college.